Forces Prompting the Need for Electronic Supplier Quality Management Software
A variety of internal and external forces are driving an increase in supply chain risks, prompting companies to seek out supplier quality management software tools that can help mitigate these risks. Internal forces include the need to improve efficiency and reduce operating costs. External forces, such as globalization and global connectivity, are also at play. For life science companies, these forces are compounded by increased regulatory oversight and customer demands for safer, better products. By challenging manufacturers to redefine their definition of acceptable supply chain risk, the aforementioned forces have propelled automated supplier quality management system solutions from an afterthought to a strategic business requirement. Regulated companies that fail to implement electronic supplier tools into their manufacturing operations are exposing their brands to greater, more frequent risks and negative outcomes like sudden demand change and margin erosion.
Take, for example, the ripple effect that an unforeseen natural disaster, such as a hurricane, can have on business performance and long-term brand value. Factories damaged by the storm will come to an abrupt halt, forcing supply chain managers to scramble, often unsuccessfully, to find an alternate supply source. Even if a suitable alternate source is identified, the inevitable delays in order fulfillment and subsequent lost revenue will cost the company dearly - in both revenue and reputation. One recent study found that companies forced to endure a publicly - announced supply chain disruption yielded 30 percent lower shareholder returns and a decline in customer confidence. It's no surprise that in many progressive companies, managers are beginning to recognize the importance of implementing a supplier quality management system to minimize the risks that will inevitably occur as a result of today's interlinked, complex supply chains.
Achieving Compliance through Supplier Quality Management Software
The ongoing challenges involved with increasing customer expectations, emerging competitive challenges, and shorter product cycles are forcing companies to venture beyond traditional supply change management approaches, such as the manual or paper-based supplier quality management system, in favor of electronic supplier management tools. This is particularly true for life science organizations and other regulated manufactures that operate in environments where regulations and markets change frequently and rapidly. While such solutions represent an opportunity for manufacturers to move beyond dated tools and techniques, they also present them with another challenge: how to determine which supplier quality management software solution is best suited to meet their needs.
While there are many supply chain management systems on the market today, the most powerful solutions share a few critical attributes that they offer to their users:
- Increased visibility: Outdated tools like traditional, static spreadsheets are reactive rather than proactive. A good supplier quality management system will offer its users the ability to monitor supply chain events as they happen, in real time. This, in turn, will enable users to proactively, perhaps even preemptively, address supplier problems.
- Increased flexibility: Because sudden demand change ranks as one of the most costly problems facing global companies, it's no surprise that the most highly rated supplier quality management software systems are also the most agile. Being able to address and correct problems as efficiently and early as possible limits the impact of supply chain disruptions without significantly increasing organizational costs.
- Better Collaboration: With outsourcing on the rise, it's not uncommon for manufacturers to simultaneously juggle hundreds, even thousands, of third-party vendors. It's a difficult task, and one that is made even more challenging when coupled with the intense scrutiny of the FDA and other global regulatory agencies. A supplier quality management system that does not allow a company to work closely with its trusted partners will not increase supply chain resiliency.
- Better Control: Being able to identify supply chain risks is only half of the battle. To be considered world-class, a supplier quality management software tool must offer powerful monitoring capabilities and control mechanisms which enable a company to confirm that its supplier management procedures and processes are actually being followed.
What Sets MasterControl's Supplier Quality Management Software Apart from Other Supplier Solutions
MasterControl is a leading provider of supplier quality management software to regulated companies worldwide. Unlike less flexible solutions, MasterControl Supplier™ has been designed to integrate other enterprise systems quickly and easily. Furthermore, MasterControl allows users to create a unified method for managing all of their critical compliance requirements, from supplier and risk management to documentation and training management, enterprise-wide; this allows for a truly integrated approach to supply chain management.
Here are some examples of how MasterControl's supplier quality management system solution addresses the attributes mentioned above:
- Automated Tracking for Increased Visibility: Unlike other systems, MasterControl's supplier quality management software solution provides automatic tracking of supplier information stemming from audits, nonconformance reports, and CAPAs - information which is critical in generating supplier rating. Furthermore, all quality information pertaining to suppliers resides in one place for easier tracking and retrieval. With MasterControl's system, users have access to supplier quality information from virtually anywhere, anytime.
- Increased Flexibility for Accelerated Compliance: Out-of-the-box and configurable, MasterControl's software is able to accommodate an organization's existing business and IT infrastructures - unlike other supply chain management tools that require custom coding or lengthy implementation and validation timeframes. MasterControl enables a company to get its supplier quality management system up and running quickly, and start mitigating its supply chain risks almost immediately.
- Connected Processes Allow for Better Collaboration: Rather than having to track the supply chain management process across a host of disparate systems, MasterControl's supplier quality management software solution allows a company to connect its supply chain management process with other quality processes for a holistic approach to compliance. For example, because they are all connected in the same system, supplier nonconformances serious enough to warrant corrective action can be automatically addressed via the CAPA process. In addition, the MasterControl Guest Connect™ add-on module can be incorporated into the company's supplier system to give practical interaction capabilities (such as notifications, task assignments, and reports) with external parties (such as suppliers, partners, and consultants) early in the development cycle without having to give them a full access account. This level of collaboration and early involvement can dramatically increase efficiency and accelerate compliance.
- Robust Reporting Capabilities for Better Control: One distinct advantage of MasterControl's software over other automated supplier quality systems is its capability to generate approved-vendor reports that include lists of the materials or services a supplier is approved to provide, the supplier's rating, and the supplier's contact information. All of this information is obtainable via MasterControl's built-in reporting tool, which allows users to filter and trend data relevant to each supplier. The audit process, related findings, and supplier corrective actions are managed through to completion. This enhanced level of control helps an organization reduce risk and maintain its required regulatory agenda. Furthermore, these benefits, which every effective supplier quality management system should provide, will result in the production and delivery of higher quality products.